My New Way to Plan Food (Part 2)

Thanks for coming back.  I thought maybe I had bored you with my "duh" conclusions from the last post, but I'm glad to know that I haven't permanently scared you off.

I am trying something new to plan meals, whittle away at the food budget, and try to stash away a little bit here and there for family fun.

I'll call it "10 Days Of Meals."  It comes with a set of rules (and exceptions), but I'm pretty excited about it because it works for us, it's flexible, and so far we haven't gone hungry.

It goes like this: I read somewhere that one way to work within a food budget is to limit the number of times you go to the grocery store.  I've historically gone every week, or when we need something.  But now, I only allow myself to go on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of the month.  That's my first rule: no in-between trips.  If we run out of tomatoes, well shoot, we're out of tomatoes.  Substitute the canned stuff, or find something tomato-less to make.  (The first rule comes with the first exception: Get milk whenever it's needed.  But that's it.  Just milk.)

The second rule says to bring a calculator (and look like a nerd).  Yes, I'm that mom with the calculator.  I know exactly what the cashier is going to ring me up for.  I know whether or not I can get the store brand of chips or the pretty brand.  The difference between $90 and $100 is significant if that extra $10 means a fun family activity or not.

The third rule requires strict adherence to the list which means ... make a list.  And stick to it.  Always.  (Second exception: don't stick to the list if you come in under budget and you see fresh baked goods.)

And the final rule, which actually precludes all the other rules, is to plan 10 days' worth of meals before making a list.

I'll tell you tomorrow how I came up with 10 days' worth of meals that is (in my opinion) flexible, versatile (I'm not one to want to eat spaghetti and meatballs every Tuesday), and frugal.  Check back ...


  1. Bookie - you are amazing. Sounds like it'd be a fun project.... for a bit. Ha. You will own it. Looking forward to seeing recipes!

  2. Going to try to do this along with you!! hard when we have the "pantry" 150 steps away....

  3. Brian and I operated off those same principles when we were first married and in grad school 9 years ago in New Orleans. Meals were planned for the week, we went with a list and a calculator. We found, too, that unless there was an amazing sale to grab at one of the nicer grocery stores (rare in NO), that we stuck to Wal-mart super center. It meant a not as nice fresh food section, but our budget couldn't afford a lot of fresh stuff anyway. We lived on $35 a week for groceries. Crazy now that I think about it. Oh yea, but I do have nearly 5 kids now. ;) Oh and I live in ZhongGuo where cost of living is insane. I pay $6/gallon just for milk. :) You'll have fun trying to be thrifty with this!!